Can empowered girl end poverty?

Millennium Development Goals have made gender equality and women empowerment the third top priority in ending world poverty. One of their focuses in improving gender equality is through education. ‘In many countries, gender inequality persists and women continue to face discrimination in access to education, work and economic assets, and participation in government,” according to the United Nations. The organization has also established the fact that while 50 per cent of the world’s population is women, their representation in many fields has been far less than equal.

As for India, although the incidents of discrimination are steadily lowering in urban parts of India, many rural women continue to be oppressed and news of brutal attacks to socio-economic inequality to forced early marriage and withdrawal from school continue to flow from across the country. Hence, there are multiple areas that need to be addressed to meet the MDGs and successfully achieve equality between boys and girls to see a prosperous country.

Even the World Bank has made gender equality the top priority in their plan to end world poverty. They stress that if girls are educated and healthy, they have a chance to become influential leaders in their countries. Yet, in many countries women continue to earn less than their male counterparts. Since many women are a directly involved with much of the world’s agriculture, World Bank mentions the impact women can have with improving hunger.  The World Bank says, ‘… if women worldwide had equal access to productive resources, 100-150 million fewer people would go hungry every day.

Unfortunately, in remote corners of the country, girls are limited to housework and do not get a chance to be seen as equal. However, if they were given a chance to chase their dreams, the country will get more entrepreneurs, more scientists, more doctors, more engineers… professionals who can help make a difference in the world. By oppressing the girl, the country oppresses itself from its full potential.

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